The US Needs to Pick Itself up Before it Sinks

Charles A. Kohlhaas | April 19, 2023
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Over the past week headlines noted:

  • A 21-year-old Air National Guardsman leaked top secret military, intelligence, and security documents which exposes U.S. intelligence methods and possibly personnel. This is only the latest in a long string of leaks, losses, and compromises of top secret documents.
  • OPEC+ oil production cuts will probably increase inflation.
  • OPEC agreed to production cuts although it estimates world oil demand will increase by over 2 million barrels per day this year.  
  • U.S. military cannot meet recruiting requirements. Only 23% of male high school graduates meet Army enlistment requirements. 
  • U.S. military is short of munitions. 
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy gives a speech at Columbia University in which she says the U.S. Government will pursue its climate goals and maintain its energy transition policies. Then she cements her reputation as a fool and calls on the oil industry to drill more and invest in new projects to reduce current high oil prices. After two years attacking the industry, she evidently thinks all those drilling rigs, fracturing equipment, service companies, and trained crews are sitting around waiting on the chance she may change her fevered mind and that will change world oil prices. 
  • The Energy Transition to Green Energy will require massive increases of mining worldwide. Most countries with the minerals which need mined are not in favor of mining in their country, however. That includes the U.S. Increased mining by the amount needed will take decades in any case, so the Energy Transition likely will not happen.  
  • A long list of supplicants is now parading to Beijing to kiss the (ring?) of the new Emperor for Life, Xi Jinping. After his visit, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, then proclaimed that business deals with China meant France did not have to follow the U.S. lead. Yes, France. A U.S. ally since the American Revolution and a country with many U.S. military cemeteries from two World Wars. He still thinks like the investment banker he was. Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, said his growing relationship with China allowed Brazil to pushback against the U.S. a little stronger. China is Brazil’s largest trading partner. Also, the Presidents of Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, and the European Commission went to pay homage. Brazil’s oil production is down nearly 12% m/m.  
  • The combined BRICS GDP is now larger than that of the G7. This simple headline encapsulates the results of a long series of U.S. policy failures. It announces that a group of 14 “Emerging Market” or “Developing” countries which have banded together to provide themselves an alternative international financial and trade system now has a combined economy larger than the so-called “Leading Economies.” 
  • The population of India is larger than the population of China. India’s population will continue to increase; China’s is declining. 
  • During an energy crisis, Germany will shut down its last three nuclear generating plants at the end of the week. These plants have operated safely, cleanly, emissions-free for decades. The shutdowns are opposed by 67% of the German population. Nevertheless, green-energy fanatics do not like them for no rational reason and they will be shut down. 
  • The Bank of International Settlements warns that years of fighting financial crises have put the international financial system at the edge of instability.

What we see in the above news is a pattern of ineffective, incompetent, and irrational leadership by what is known as the West. Fanatics and fringe groups dictate policy. A large part of the world is rejecting this leadership. It is re-aligning itself away from the U.S.-led, European, Western-Civilization-dominated world economic, political, financial, and security-based system.  

A new world order, led by China, is being established in response to repeated failures of U.S. foreign, economic, financial, and political policies - or lack thereof - particularly accelerated since the Saudis joined China in the SCO, BRICS, and to moderate their relations with Iran.

A combination of incompetence, negligence, ignorance, and arrogance is unbeatable; it can destroy anything - and it has. 

At this point, it is difficult to predict which countries will align themselves which way; some will firmly align themselves with China, others will stay aligned with the U.S., and some will keep one foot on each side. Which ones will do what remains to be seen. At this point it seems more than 80% of the world’s population, more than 70% of its GDP, and more than 75% of its oil production since the changes 2 weeks ago are moving away from the U.S. and seeking a different system.

Some conclusions are clear from these re-alignments and some trends are confirmed.

The Davos crowd has been shouting to itself for several years; it is irrelevant. The UN is irrelevant. The European Union will probably break up; Macron calling for the EU to establish sovereignty as a result of his crawling to Beijing makes that clear. Anything which requires unanimity to legislate or take action cannot function decisively. The Euro has outlived whatever usefulness it might ever have had. NATO has re-discovered a purpose and will probably strengthen - somewhat. It may find it has too many weak participants and cannot overcome their lethargy.

Democracy is destroying itself and liberalism worldwide.

The U.S. must take some decisive actions to assert leadership. Various commentators and organizations have presented plans to confront China.

But these recommendations all presume the U.S. has functioning, effective government, security, and defense organizations. It does not.

First, the U.S. needs to recognize it has a problem. Second, it needs to recognize the problem is its own societal rot. Then get up, shake itself off, stop feeling sorry for itself, and re-build its strength.

Otherwise, the U.S. can continue to sink.